In a recent New York Times op-ed, John McCain, the man who hoped to be president, said that Russia’s invasion of Crimea has nothing to do with NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Oh? Well, now, let’s see how McCain would be responding if the shoe were on the other foot.
Let’s assume that when the Cold War ended, the United States disbanded NATO. That, of course, wouldn’t have been too illogical given that NATO was brought into existence to protect Western Europe from Soviet aggression during the Cold War. Since the Soviet Union was dismantled with the Cold War’s end, there was certainly no reason to keep NATO in existence.
Let’s assume that Russia, on other hand, decided to keep the Warsaw Pact in existence, albeit with new members. Let’s assume that ever since 1990, the reconstituted Warsaw Pact expanded into the Western Hemisphere with such new members as Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Let’s also assume that Russia proposed a Warsaw Pact anti-missile system in Cuba, purely as a defensive measure.
Oh, let’s have one more assumption. Let’s assume that Russia instigated protests in Mexico against the violence of the U.S-instigated drug war. Those protests, let us say, have resulted in the recent ouster of the democratically elected president of Mexico and in the installation of a pro-Moscow unelected regime.
I ask you: What would John McCain and his merry band of U.S. conservative and neoconservative interventionists be saying about this chain of events? Would they be sitting silently by or even praising the actions of the Warsaw Pact? Would they be embracing Russia as a friend and ally? Would they be placing their trust in Russian president Vladimir Putin as the Warsaw Pact came up to America’s southern border?
Of course not! We all know that McCain, the cons, and the neocons would be screaming like Banshees! They would be exclaiming, “The Russians have deceived us and double-crossed us! They promised us that the Warsaw Pact would be dismantled. We believed their promises. That’s why we dismantled NATO. They are getting ready to attack us. The Cold War never ended for Russia!”
They would be exhorting President Obama to invade Mexico in order to oust the illegitimate regime in Mexico and reinstall the democratically elected president of the country. Meanwhile, the CIA and the Pentagon would be licking their chops at the opportunity to reinvade and conquer Cuba, once and for all. CIA assassination teams consisting of CIA and Mafia partners would be reconstituted. The Pentagon would be figuring out how to enlist the children of the old Contra brigades to begin new efforts to oust the Warsaw Pact regimes in Latin America and perhaps even funding the operation with illicit arms sales to Iran.
Well, guess what. Deception and double-cross are precisely what NATO engaged in against Russia after the end of the Cold War. They promised Russia that when the Warsaw Pact dissolved, NATO wouldn’t expand eastward. It was a lie. They never intended to honor their pledge. Doing that might might mean no more crises, and everyone knows that crises are an essential prerequisite for the continued existence of the U.S. national-security state.
So, while the Warsaw Pact was disbanding, NATO was expanding … eastward, inexorably absorbing the countries that had formerly been members of the Warsaw Pact. The expansion brought NATO closer and closer to Russia’s borders. Anti-missile systems close to Russia were planned. And then NATO proposed to absorb Georgia and Ukraine, which would place NATO (including Germany) right on Russia’s borders and even place Russia’s longtime military bases in Crimea under NATO jurisdiction.
One can exclaim against Russia’s invasion of Crimea and its possible forthcoming invasion of Ukraine until one is blue in the face, just as some protested unsuccessfully against the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. But Russia’s response to NATO’s expansion was as predictable as a U.S. response would be if the Warsaw Pact was absorbing countries in Central America and Mexico. That’s just the way the world works.
Americans are learning that the continuation of the Cold War apparatus known as the national-security state is threatening not only their economic well-being and their civil liberties and privacy. They’re also learning that NATO constitutes a serious threat to the peace and stability of the American people. The sooner these Cold War dinosaurs are dismantled and cast into the dustbin of history, the better off everyone will be.